If you think of starting a business as a journey, with success (however you define it) as the endpoint, then its a smart idea to create a “road map” to your destination. Crafting a roadmap is the very first step for launching any business be it the next GOOGLE or your idea for selling hand-crafted sweaters for dogs.
Consider spending some quality time mapping out a detailed vision for success as well as the first practical steps as to how to get there. Crafting a roadmap to success can be done by simply asking yourself the following questions:
What is your vision for success?
What is your specific, focused, exciting, positive, descriptive vision of what success look like, feels like, and even smells like? To play off the “starting your business as journey metaphor”, a vision is an emotionally charged, visual image of the final destination of your journey or what success looks like to you.
Here is a great example of a compelling vision from one of our clients:
“I am the owner of a boutique marketing communications company that specializes in political campaigns and crisis management for select clients. I am working in a natural light filled office, with large windows overlooking Boston Harbor. It furnished with a funky modern yet warm esthetic and my office door opens to a suite of offices where my employees work.
I have an incredibly talented staff of 12 employees who are committed to our vision of providing the cost effective, high quality communications and marketing service in New England. We love coming to work because each day is filled with vibrant creative projects, grateful clients, and exciting new challenges. I make $150,000 doing work I love.”
You will know when you have crafted a great vision when you feel thrilled reading it.
Who is your market? Who is your ideal client?
If you do not specifically identify who it is that you want to attract, you will spend precious energy either attracting no one, or marketing to the wrong people.
What are you really selling?
And more importantly, why would people buy this? The business jargon for this question is “What is your value proposition?” Consider how are you or your product going to solve someone’s problem or make their life better?
How will you organize your business to accomplish the work?
Are you going to work 24/7 or something a little more balanced? Who is going to do what? What skills, equipment, facilities do you need to accomplish your goals?
How will you get the word out and sell your product or service?
What are the ways that your “ideal” client will find out about you and make them want to buy it?
How will you manage the finances?
Will you be using sticky notes taped to your computer, Quicken or a book keeper/accountant?
When we work with clients, we spend alot of time thinking about very clear vision of success. This vision is the most important element because it drives the rest of the details of your road map. Once you have a clear road map to where you are going, you may want to take it one step further and create a business plan. There are fabulous free resources that provide excellent templates for business plans. Business plans can be quite simple, and they can be updated and changed as your business grows and develops.
If you have a great idea, its worth the time and energy to map out the path to making your dream a reality – your road map to success.